Inflamed, red and bleeding gums are common signs of periodontal disease. Frequent gums bleeding when you’re brushing or flossing and even eating is never a good thing. Periodontal diseases, also known as gum disease is quite progressive. The severity of the damages and discomforts varies from mild inflammation to more serious conditions such as tissue damage, bone degradation and loss of teeth. According to studies, people within the age of 30 and above are more likely to have dental problems, including gums infection.
Many adults have lost their teeth to advanced periodontitis, which is a more serious and chronic form of gum disease. Researchers have reported that the progression of periodontal disease can lead to other serious health problems such as heart diseases, respiratory diseases, lowered immunity and many others. Luckily, gum disease can be reversed if it’s detected on time with daily oral care and through professional dental cleaning.
Gum disease can be very dangerous if its left untreated and allowed to develop. The infection from the affected gums can easily spread, targeting the immune system and other vital organs such as the heart and lungs.
Is periodontal disease reversible?
Yes, periodontal disease can be reversed but It depends on how far the disease has progressed. There are two main stages of periodontal disease, the initial stage is called gingivitis while the advanced stage is known as periodontalitis. In the early stages, it’s possible that you can reverse periodontal disease with extra attention to dental hygiene and the addition of some antimicrobial products.
But once the disease has progressed to chronic state, where it becomes a threat to teeth and the bones of the mouth, the reversion becomes a different story. To understand more on this, I would like us to look at the two stages of gum disease – Gingivitis and Periodontitis.
Gingivitis being the earliest stage of periodontal disease is caused by build-up of bacterial plaque and tartar on the surface of teeth and at the gum line. Reversing gingivitis is entirely possible. Detecting and treating periodontal disease in its early stages is crucial to prevent spread of infections, extreme gums recession, bone deterioration and teeth loss.
At the start, gum disease is usually painless and develops slowly, the gums becomes red, swell, and bleed easily. You may also notice chronic bad breath that doesn’t go away and pus between teeth and gums.
Like I said earlier, gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria (germs) that constantly forms on the teeth and along the gum lines. These bacteria tend to create toxins that damages or irritates the gums tissues. Also, this particular stage is known as gingivitis. Once you are able to boost your overall immune system and get rid of these bacteria, you can reverse the damages. So, here are some of the ways to reverse gingivitis:
1. Professional dental cleanings: your dentist can thoroughly clean your teeth to get rid of gingivitis-causing bacteria and plaque. This professional cleaning is done using special dental instruments and ultrasonic devices.
2. Brushing and flossing: the American Dental Association (ADA) reported that regular routine of oral hygiene is effective to reverse gingivitis. Brushing with soft-bristled toothbrush and the use of antibacterial mouthwash for at least twice a day can help to get rid of gingivitis-causing bacteria. There are specially designed mouthwash for treating gingivitis, rinsing for 30 seconds twice every day with such mouthwash can get rid gingivitis.
3. Boost your immunity: The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), recommends boosting your overall immune system if you notice early signs of gingivitis. Certain foods such as nutrition-rich diet of fruit, meat, vegetables and fish, and dairy and whole-grain products are effective for immunity boosting. Smokers are also advised to stop, because smoking weakens your body’s immune system, making it harder to fight gum infections.
Periodontal disease is termed periodontitis, when gingivitis has progressed to the more severe condition. Severe gum disease can result in so many complications such as pain, gum recession, loose teeth, bone loss, teeth loss and spread of infections. Dentists always advise that you should not allow periodontal disease to progress this far.
Moreover, reversing periodontitis may require costly approach depending on the the severity of the damages. At first, your dentist will have to carry out some necessary examinations to determine the severity of your condition and draw up a plan of treatment. However, early periodontalitis can be treated with a minimally-invasive deep cleaning procedure.
How to reverse periodontitis
Actually, advanced periodontitis cannot be reversed, you can only treat the disease to stop further damages. Regular brushing and consumption of certain foods can not save you when the gum disease has progressed, and you are already loosing your teeth, bone plus the supporting tissues. However, there are some available treatments options that your dentist can use to repair the damages and prevent further destruction of bone and tissue. Here are some treatments options for periodontitis:
1. Periodontal Scaling: periodontal scaling is more extensive, deep professional cleaning procedure. It is a more standard cleaning procedure, that is done usually under local anesthetic to remove tartar and plaque beneath the gum line. During the procedure, the dentist makes use of specialized dental cleaning instruments or ultrasonic technology to remove plaque and tartar that are causing the infection below the gum line.
2. Root planing: root planing involves smoothening of the root surfaces. The main aim of the procedure is to create a suitable environment, which allows the gum tissues to heal and to reattach to the teeth.
3. Surgery: if the damages and deep pockets of infection still persist after periodontal scaling and planning, corrective surgical treatment may be needed. A surgical procedure called flap surgery or pocket reduction is done to remove the bacteria beneath the gums.
There are also other surgical treatment methods that are designed to correct defects through reshaping or by regenerating new, healthy bone and gums. Sometimes, if some teeth are missing already, dental implants is used as replacements to teeth roots, providing a base for removable or permanent artificial teeth. You can check here to see – the cost of implants, how it’s done, the true meaning and side effects of dental implants.
With early intervention and treatment, periodontal disease is indeed reversible. It’s always advisable not to allow periodontal disease to progress into advanced periodontitis. Although the progression is slow, but once the disease has progressed to the point where bone and the surrounding supporting tissues are being destroyed, reversing the disease becomes a different story.
In addition, it’s helpful to know the signs and symptoms of the stages of periodontal disease. In my previous article, I explained more on the symptoms of each of these stages using pictures. You can read the post here to learn more on – The main four stages of periodontal disease.